Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh
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RAPID SHIFTS IN THE ARCTIC SYSTEM : Implications for vulnerability and resilience John E. Walsh ARCUS Arctic Forum 2003. “If you take the last 100,000 years from the Greenland ice core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

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RAPID SHIFTS IN THE ARCTIC SYSTEM : Implications for vulnerability and resilience John E. Walsh

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Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

RAPID SHIFTS IN THE

ARCTIC SYSTEM :

Implications for vulnerability and resilience

John E. Walsh

ARCUS Arctic Forum 2003


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

“If you take the last 100,000 years from the Greenland ice core, the only few thousand years that have not had abrupt changes are the few thousand we are living in.”

- Richard Alley/Earth and Sky


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

GRIP ice core temperature reconstruction

from Dansgaard et al. (1993)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

·Assess recent Arctic changes in context of abrupt changes of the past·Highlight issues of resilience and vulnerability to abrupt changes·Examine some projections of changes in the Arctic

Objectives :


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Abrupt climate change

from CLIVAR/PAGES


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

The Younger-Dryas changes of ~12K BP were abrupt.·Smaller changes have had large impacts on peoplee.g., Viking settlements in Greenland·Although climate has been relatively quiescent during the past few thousand years, greenhouse gas emissions may alter the likelihood of abrupt climate changes


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Surface temperature trend - recent 1000 years

from Michael Mann


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Abrupt climate change

from CLIVAR/PAGES


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Surface air temperature : January

(1977-1986) – (1966-1975)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Arctic surface air temperature anomalies

from Polyakov et al. (2002)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Spawning stock biomass of herring

in the Nordic Seas

from Torensen and Ostvedt (2000)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Vulnerability = Impacts - Adaptive CapacityVulnerability decreases as adaptive capacity increases-- increasing size and interconnectedness of system provide more possibilities for compensation within the system


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Net economic value

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Variability of total U.S. farm output : 1929-2000

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Relative variability of U.S. farm output as share of total domestic product : 1929-2000

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Longer-term vulnerability decreases with1) Longer warning time2) Decreased lifetime (infrastructure, capital investment)(Both enhance adaptability)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Vulnerability of capital stocks

from National Academy of Sciences (2002)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

How might 21st-century climate changetest the vulnerability and adaptability of the Arctic system?growing season lengthopen water season lengthsea levelcoastal storms, erosionpermafrost degradationfire frequency


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

CCC growing season - Tmin greater than 0 °C

(2071-2090) - (1976-1995)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Projected sea level rise

from IPCC (2001)


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Projected continuous permafrost area : 5 GCMs


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Projected total permafrost area : 5 GCMs


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Sfc. air temperature : (high-low) fire severity composite

March-July 1951-2002


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Key uncertainties in vulnerability ( = impacts-adaptability)Uncertainties in impacts:• climate change scenarios from coarse models are highly uncertain-- large scatter among models-- common errors• local effects are not captured by climate model projections• changes in variability will likely be at least as important as changes in the mean


Rapid shifts in the arctic system implications for vulnerability and resilience john e walsh

Uncertainties in adaptive capacity:• Non-climatic factors (societal, cultural, economic,technological) are at least as difficult to anticipateas climate change


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